A non-displaced hairline fracture of his left shoulder blade cost Eric Brown Jr. six valuable weeks of development with High-A Wisconsin.
Fortunately for the 2022 first-rounder out of Coastal Carolina, he was able to make up for lost time as the primary shortstop for Surprise in the Arizona Fall League.
That allowed the 23-year-old Brown to head into the offseason with momentum after he hit .265/.362/.347 with four home runs and 37 stolen bases in 63 games in the Midwest League.
“His year at Wisconsin was disrupted at times by the injury bug. I think that caused him to be hot and cold at times,” said Tom Flanagan, the Brewers’ vice president of baseball operations and baseball administration.
“Overall, it was a nice year, but he missed out on a lot of plate appearances, so being able to get another 30 games in the AFL is big for him.”
Brown signed for $2.05 million—about 25% under slot—after Milwaukee drafted him 27th overall in 2022. In college he stood out for an unorthodox batting stance and swing, yet rode it to a huge junior year in which he hit .330 with a 1.004 OPS.
Brown struggled at Wisconsin at the outset of 2023 before two hits against Quad Cities on July 1 got his average up to .266. But then the broken scapula put him on the shelf until Aug. 17.
He closed the season with five games at Double-A Biloxi before heading to the AFL.
Among the factors working in Brown’s favor in Arizona was the fact that Brewers Low-A hitting coach JJ Reimer was serving in the same capacity with Surprise.
“We feel this extra time (in the AFL) will be big heading into 2024,” Flanagan said.
— Righthander Jacob Misiorowski was back to throwing at instructional league, a huge positive after he was shut down with arm fatigue following his Aug. 15 start for Double-A Biloxi.
Misiorowski, who turned heads with an overpowering one-inning showing at the Futures Game, recorded a 3.41 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 20 starts between Low-A Carolina, High-A Wisconsin and Biloxi.
“He’s back to 100%,” Flanagan said. “He didn’t get any instructional game action. He just worked on the side. But he was able to throw bullpen sessions and was looking like the pitcher we saw during the season. So that was great to see.”
— Outfielder Jackson Chourio was slated to play for Zulia in the Venezuelan League for the third straight offseason.
Chourio was coming off playing a career-high 128 games between Biloxi and Triple-A Nashville, so his stint probably will be shorter than the 21 games he took part in last winter.